Thursday, December 26, 2013

Dr. Panda's Bus Driver

The Dr. Panda series continues to produce fun apps with educational possibilities. Specifically, the series of apps (and I need to write about the others) provides a context for exploring different settings and situations in the real world. Though made of "mini games," the apps are slow-paced and provide plenty of moments for breaking away from the screen and discussing what is going on. The slow pace also lends itself to taking turns and use with groups. Like other play-based apps, they also can serve as a context to rehearse a play scheme and then act it out with real toys, practicing play and language skills in the process. Think of the language and executive functioning skills involved with planning a real "bus route" with a play bus, people, and whatever you want to use to mark the route.

Dr. Panda's Bus Driver ($2.99) allows you to drive a bus through a randomly-generated (and beautifully rendered) world of winding roads through a mountainside community. You can't crash, so don't worry. The main action of the game involves picking up and dropping up passengers, controlling your speed over speed bumps, and engaging in mini games such as washing or painting your bus. As the game proceeds, you also have choices about which turns to take.

Language Lens:

-Passengers are "picked up" from different community spots, providing an option to slow down or stop and discuss the actions associated with the locations.

-Road signs prominent throughout the play are a good context to develop spatial concepts, also targeted in the maneuvering of the bus and other apparatus and selection of seats for the passengers.

-Consider pairing this app with Google Earth, as the Street View function can make for a fun "ride" through your students' own community with all the language involved.



  1. My grandson loves to ride the bus with NaNa so when this app popped up while he was playing an alternate Dr Panda app he was so energized ... how might I be able to reject him.Love how it teaches him how to stop for red lights & to let individuals cross!Yet an alternate GREAT Dr Panda app ... Adore them!!!

    --Rachel Wood.

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